Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Saw this posted on a Facebook Friend’s wall:

Florida is the first state that will require drug testing when applying for welfare (effective July 1st)! Some people are crying this is unconstitutional. How is this unconstitutional yet it’s okay that every working person had to pass a drug test in order to support those on welfare? Re-post if you… agree!!! Let’s get Welfare back to the one’s who NEED it, not those that just WANT it!

One of my favorite things about America is that it’s kind of ignorant and proud of it.  I loved in high school when you’d be talking to someone and you’d tell them to shut up and they’d tell you “it’s a free country I can say what I want!”  This level of knowledge about the U.S. Constitution is about what most Americans have.  You see the constitution guarantees your freedom of speech, which means the U.S. government cannot tell you what you can and cannot say in public.  And this applies to the states via the 14th Amendment, which means that state governments can’t limit your speech, either.  Businesses, however, are a different matter.

The reason people are saying this Florida Law is unconstitutional is because it is the state (Florida) violating you’re 4thand 5th Amendment rights (the right against illegal search and seizure & against providing evidence against yourself, respectively).  In my FB friend’s post he says, “yet it’s okay that every working person had to pass a drug test in order to support those on welfare?”  Well, let me say that I also disagree with drug testing in the workplace; however, the reason your business can do this as a requirement for your employment is that they’re a private business.  They aren’t subject to the Constitution, except as regulated by the commerce clause (article 1, section 8, clause 3 of the US Constitution that Republicans claim to love so much) via Congress.  So Congress can tell them what to do, but for the most part business can violate your rights all they want because you enter into a contract with them where you say, “I give up my rights in exchange for pay.”

Businesses can

  1. Limit your speech
  2. Dictate what you can wear
  3. Violate your right to privacy
  4. Listen in on your phone conversations
  5. Look at your emails
  6. Look at everything on your computer

These are things that if the government did, you’d file a lawsuit or start a Tea Party.  But with your company…thanks for the pay!

What makes this Florida law MORE unconstitutional is that EVERY person applying is required to subject themselves to this drug test.  Even worse, they have to pay for it! Here’s the CNN article about the law.

So not only do you have to suffer the indignity of pissing in a cup and being treated like a criminal, you have to pay upfront!  I’ve been poor, I’ve never gone on assistance, but there were times that I lived paycheck to paycheck and made $20 last 2 weeks.  If I needed to apply for welfare, because I have kids and need to feed them (I almost forgot it’s the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families applicants who are required to do this), I have to also come up with $30-$50 before I can even apply.  “Sorry kids, we can’t have food this week because I have to apply for assistance and it requires a $50 deposit (essentially) and then I suppose I have to wait for the results, then there’s probably more red tape.  But I’m sure we’ll eat soon.”

I reposted my “Cell Phones for the Homeless” blog because once again the outrage is against poor people.  The poor are taking advantage of the system and they must be punished.  Just for comparison, you know that several corporations don’t pay any taxes, and some even got tax refunds.  This means that corporations are actually getting money from the taxpayer, straight out.  At least these people on welfare most likely paid taxes! I mentioned in the Cell Phone post that I see taxes as similar to insurance: I pay in to these social services and if one day I need it, it will be there for me.  This is one of the things that annoys me about the self-righteous taxpayer: most people on welfare WORKED before they were on welfare.  This means they PAID TAXES!  When it comes to Texas and Florida, there is no state income tax, just a sales tax (and corporate taxes –yet another story), so every time you buy anything you’re paying into social services.  So these people are taking out what they put in, and every time they buy something, they’re PUTTING MORE IN!

At a time when the economy is as bad as it is, and there are more people out of work than normally would be, should this law be on the books?  There’s a philosophical question that people ask in various forms, but it usually goes something like this, “would you jail 100 people, 99 of whom might be innocent, if it meant one murderer wouldn’t go free?”  You see, I would rather have 99 guilty people go free, rather than jail one innocent person.  To me, this law is doing the former.  Everyone is treated as if they are guilty and must prove their innocence, and it’s causing an undue burden on the innocent.

So to your Facebook post: No, I don’t agree.

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